S1E6 Melissa’s Story | New Little Life Breastfeeding Podcast

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Show Notes

In this week’s episode, I am joined by Melissa–a mom of two and holistic health coach. In addition to talking about her experiences with both exclusive pumping and feeding at the breast, Melissa gives practical, easy advice for busy moms to be healthier. This episode is unique and I think you’ll come away motivated to try out some new ideas!

Helpful Links

Batch cooking guide: https://mailchi.mp/free2bcoaching/batch-cook

Guide to drinking more water: https://mailchi.mp/free2bcoaching/8-ways-to-drink-more-water

Guide to kicking sugar to the curb: https://mailchi.mp/free2bcoaching/sugar-rf-sept-2020

Connect with Melissa

Links from Allison

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Episode Transcript

Allison (00:07):

Hey everyone. It’s Allison here with New Little Life. I’m an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Counselor (IBCLC), a nurse, a doula, and a mom of three little boys. Here on the New Little Life podcast, we will talk with real moms about their breastfeeding experience, the good parts and the bad. And share real and practical advice about breastfeeding. Connect with and learn from other moms and professionals to help you meet your breastfeeding goals. Hello everyone. Welcome back to the New Little Life podcast. Today I have a chat for you that was really a lot of fun. This is Melissa. She’s a mom of two and a fantastic health coach. She helps women address their relationship with food and find healthy habits. Now, that description of her really doesn’t do her justice. And she’ll tell you a little bit more about herself in the interview, but her story is a really unique one. Much like all the mothers that I’ve talked with before. I actually left this interview feeling so uplifted and motivated in such a wonderful way. I can tell that Melissa is definitely in the right career field because here I am, supposed to be the host and asking her all these good questions, and she ended up giving me something really special. So this interview did not really go in the usual direction of the interviews here on the New Little Life podcast, but you’re going to love it when we dive into some other real-life eating habits and give you some practical advice for busy moms with little ones. So she’s going to share her breastfeeding story with us, and then some really helpful advice. You have a lot to learn from Melissa. So let’s jump right over there. Hi Melissa! I’m really excited to talk with you today. We actually don’t know each other very well. So we just met in the last five minutes. So this is going to be fun. Can you actually start out and tell me and my listeners a little bit about you, what you do about your family, everything like that?

Melissa (02:13):

Yeah, absolutely. So I am a holistic health and life coach. I help women break free from sugar and stress-eating so they can be calm and confident and in control. I have a ten-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter. I’ve been married to my husband for 13 years and I live in Arizona, where it’s warm and sunny.

Allison (02:31):

I’m a little jealous. It snowed here today in Belgium, which is not very common. To have some sun sounds really nice actually.

Melissa (02:38):

Yeah, it’s not always warm, but it’s always sunny. So that’s a plus.

Allison (02:42):

A health coach? That’s so interesting. Can I put your link down in the description? I might click on it myself, because that sounds like something that I need–some help with some sugar. That is so cool. Are you doing stuff virtual now or do you usually do in person? What are you doing with that right now?

Melissa (03:00):

I’ve always done virtual. I’ve had clients all over. So virtual, like COVID, didn’t change a lot for me and my business, to be honest with you, because I was always virtual.

Allison (03:09):

Isn’t that nice? Some of these businesses that were already online have done really well and for a lot of other people, they had to pivot really fast when everything shut down.

Melissa (03:19):

Yeah. A year of the pivot is what I call 2020.

Allison (03:23):

There’s some really, really interesting names that people have come up for the year 2020. Thankfully we’re in 2021 now. It’s not looking that much better yet, but we’re hopeful.

Melissa (03:34):

Yes. And it doesn’t have a name yet.

Allison (03:37):

Oh my word. We can do this.

Melissa (03:39):

Yes we can.

Allison (03:41):

So let’s, I want to talk to you about breastfeeding. Your kids are twelve and ten? All right. So can we just start at the beginning? Like you’re a first-time mom, what were your plans, had you ever been exposed to breastfeeding before? What were you thinking? Can you just start at the beginning?

Melissa (04:02):

Yeah, absolutely. So, it’s funny when you asked about me being exposed to breastfeeding and the first thing that came up, Allison, was having a friend over– my parents’ friend when I was a young girl. And she had had a baby and she was nursing him. And so she’s sitting on the couch with a blanket over her and that’s like, what comes up. I wasn’t going to do it. I was that mom who had the planned C-section because I have control issues. And I had the planned C-section, I was not going to breastfeed and I was just going to bottle-feed because I wanted control of myself and my body, to be honest with you. So that was kind of my exposure and kind of my initial starting point before I had our firstborn and then everything changed.

Allison (04:46):

Alright. Tell me what happened next. So you have this C-section, awesome. You’re going to bottle feed, right? I think something changed for you.

Melissa (04:55):

Yeah, it sure did. And in fact it wasn’t until our daughter was two days old, maybe when I decided. I just remember like, you go through recovery of the C-section and I remember when I first heard her cry and I just started to cry because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, she’s okay. Everything is okay.” And like, everything changed for me in that moment. And I’m holding her after I was in the recovery and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I just love her so much. I can’t imagine not giving her the best.” And , I think they had probably talked a little bit about breastfeeding and the pros and the benefits of it, but it didn’t resonate with me until I was holding her. And I’m like, “I really kind of owe it to her to try, because if it is so beneficial to her and me, why would I not do that?” So I was that mom in the hospital who didn’t plan on it. I didn’t have a nursing bra. I had a nightgown that didn’t work for nursing. So I had to pull everything up and like be totally naked to breastfeed. It’s just so interesting. It like totally transformed me to honest with you. Because here I was this control freak who was very much in control and in charge, and very modest and that just all went out the window.

Allison (06:05):

Wow. That’s incredible. So was it hard? I mean, you had not even like thought this through. What was going through your brain? How how did you start that breastfeeding process?

Melissa (06:21):

It was hard. And I remember, we tried and we had the most beautiful lactation consultant. Like she was amazing. We’ve remained in touch to this day. She passed away a few years ago, which was really sad. But she was so helpful and encouraging and really like taught me how to do it and what the latching looks like. And I actually ended up not only breastfeeding, but I pumped– more so for the first year of her life– because it just was something for me and probably a past trauma to have her on my breast. So I actually pumped more for her. But then when our son was born, I did not pump for him. So I’ve kind of done both, and I wasn’t going to do anything. So I’m probably like the most ironic, interesting guest you’ve had.

Allison (07:10):

Right? To be honest, I did not know exclusive pumping was a thing until I really entered the lactation world because nobody talks about this. And it wasn’t until I am like, “I’m a lactation counselor I’m in this world” and people are like, “I’m an exclusive pumper.” And I was like, “What? Why?” But there’s so many reasons that women choose to do that. So that’s really interesting.

Melissa (07:36):

Mine was control. I’ll just tell you. That’s all it was.

Allison (07:40):

I could see that being a lot easier. Like every three hours I pump and then I can feed my baby, like whenever, but at least I’ve got this schedule and I know what to expect. Tell me, do you remember what that was like?

Melissa (07:54):

Oh yes. I think the thing is when we went in, after we had gotten home, we went in and she wasn’t getting enough. So that was a concern was, “Why is she not getting enough? I don’t like not knowing how much she’s getting.” And I think that’s probably what catapulted the decision to do exclusive pumping.

Allison (08:09):

Okay. That’s a concern for a lot of moms and, but sometimes the numbers are comforting. Do you remember what your schedule was like? Were you like every three hours? Did you pump through the night?

Melissa (08:23):

I did not pump through the night, but I was every three hours. I was like hooked up to that machine and I can still hear it in my mind.

Allison (08:32):

A little PTSD from the pump sounds. You’re not actually my first guest to say that.

Melissa (08:38):

My husband was so, so amazing because she would get up in the night for the first eight weeks. It was eight weeks when she went through the night. But prior to that, she would get up and he would give her the bottle and I would pump, pretty much on the clock.

Melissa (08:56):

It was really confining, to be honest with you.

Allison (08:57):

Yeah. That’s another benefit of pumping is that your partner can help a little bit more. So that’s nice, but you still are kind of stuck to that pump. What kind of pump did you have? That was like what? 12 years ago?

Melissa (09:11):

Yeah. Yeah. Is it the Medela?

Allison (09:14):

Probably. They’ve been around for a long time.

Melissa (09:18):

And I recognize with our second, choosing not to pump with him and just doing the actual breastfeeding, how much more freedom there was in that. You could just do it anywhere.

Allison (09:32):

That’s true. Yeah. So your second one, was there a reason that you decided to breastfeed him instead of pump? Or is that just kind of what happened? I’m curious if you remember.

Melissa (09:42):

Yeah, I think it’s kind of both. I think I had gone through quite a bit of healing from my past trauma. So I was probably in a better place. And I think too, it was just easier because I had, , this 27 month old daughter, we were doing play dates at the park and doing different things. It was too confining with a toddler and a newborn. So it kind of gave me more freedom.

Allison (10:07):

Yeah. There are some better pump options now for moms that are like a lot more discreet, and you can pump on the go, and like while you’re working. But even 10 years ago, the world was super different. Even six years ago when I had my first one. I remember I had a Medela pump and someone gave it to me cause like insurance didn’t cover it. And I’m like, “I don’t have $200.” And there was like one option and it was kinda crappy. So I’ve got a question for you. Did your other mom friends at the time– do you remember if they were breastfeeding or bottle feeding? How did you fit in with the other moms that had little kids?

Melissa (10:46):

That’s a really good question. And I think all of them at the time were breastfeeding. And now looking back, I’m wondering how much of an influence that had on me. Because even the neighbor next door had had a child a few months before. And she was nursing and we had that conversation like, “Well, how is it for you? What made you decide to do it?” And I think having people to be in that space with was really helpful. And that’s why that lactation consultant was so helpful because she was just there and encouraging and supporting. And my mom didn’t breastfeed me. So I couldn’t go to her and ask her those questions. So I think finding those people that could help and show support was really powerful.

Allison (11:25):

Okay. So how long did you breastfeed both of your kids? Do you remember– your daughter and your son?

Melissa (11:32):

Daughter was a year and the son was 15 months. I did 15 months because at that point he was able to chase me around and say, “I want my nookies.” And I’m like, okay, this has got to stop.

Allison (11:46):

It gets to that point sometimes where you’re like, eh, we’re done.

Melissa (11:48):

Yep. Peace out, buddy.

Allison (11:51):

Do you remember what the weaning process like for either of them– your daughter who was on bottles and then your son who was on the breast?

Melissa (11:59):

That’s a good question. It was a while ago to be honest with you, that’s like a mom fog. I remember the pain of like the milk coming in. I do remember that, but I don’t remember the weaning much.

Allison (12:12):

Must have gone pretty well.

Melissa (12:14):

Or it’s so terrible that I blocked it out. Either of the two.

Allison (12:25):

Do you remember the hardest part of breastfeeding? Was there anything that you were just like, “This is the hardest thing for me.” I’m going to ask you also what the best part was. But first let’s start with the hardest part. Do you remember anything that sticks out in your mind?

Melissa (12:37):

Oh my gosh. With our second, I remember he wouldn’t latch. And so I’m like bleeding. I’m raw. It hurts so flipping bad. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is supposed to be natural. This is supposed to be normal. This is how like God made our bodies. Why is this so hard? Why is this not working? Am I doing it wrong? Is there something wrong with me?” Like just all of those thoughts in my mind, almost feeling like my body was like neglecting me in a way. And that’s when I learned about La Leche and this wonderful woman from La Leche came and was helpful, and supportive, and helped with the latch, and gave some tools to help. Like the nipple shield and the cream and just things that helped. Because while I had pumped with our daughter, I didn’t experience this with her. So I think just that mindset of “What am I doing wrong? I’m a failure. Why isn’t this working? This is really hard.”

Allison (13:34):

Yeah. I think that moms get in their head a lot. I don’t think you’re alone there. The first I could see kind of that lack of control and not knowing what’s going on, that I need the numbers to help me. And I’m honestly, I’m really proud of you for recognizing that and just saying, “Look, I want to do this, but this is not going to work for me. So I’m going to pivot and do it a different way.” That’s incredible to me. And then with your second one, I can totally see how learning to breastfeed and working through some of those things also would be a challenge. And good for you for sticking with that too.

Melissa (14:10):

Well I just have this memory. I have to tell you, because this is so like stuck in my brain forever. We were potty training our daughter at the time when our son was a newborn. That was bad timing, but I will never forget. She’s like, “I have to go.” So here, I’ve got my son on my breast and I’ve got that Boppy pillow like strapped around me. And I’m like running through the house with like my boob hanging out and him on my boob, trying to like get her to the toilet. And I’m like, “Why am I doing this?” Like, it was one of those moments where I’m like, “I’m going to lose it here.”

Allison (14:39):

Do you have a picture? Was anyone around to take your phone?

Melissa (14:42):

No, thank goodness. But it was one of those days, Allison, where I’m like is the front door open? Cause we had one of those storm doors. That’s like all glass and I’m like, I probably just gave the neighbors a show, if anybody saw this.

Allison (14:53):

There’s a meme that goes around sometimes on Facebook of like this mom that answers the door for the mailman and her boobs out and her baby. And the mailman is like, Okay. But if that’s not real life, I don’t know what is. Isn’t it funny the stories that stick with us? But now you remember that forever.

Melissa (15:15):

The color of the Boppy pillow, I remember what I was wearing. Like I could tell you everything.

Allison (15:20):

Funny. Alright. Do you remember any parts of breastfeeding that you loved? Or that were just like the best for you?

Melissa (15:28):

I love that feeling of knowing that I was doing the best that I could for my child and knowing that I was providing for them in the way that my body was made to. And just really feeling satisfied, content, and like, “Okay, this is really good for everybody.” Yeah, I think it just was that feeling of, “Wow. Look at what my body can do.”

Allison (15:55):

Interesting. You mentioned at the beginning, you kind of switched gears because you realized it would be better for your baby, the benefits there. Are there any benefits that you saw for yourself? Anything that ended up being a good thing for you, maybe that you didn’t anticipate being a pro?

Melissa (16:16):

Yeah, absolutely. And I will tell you, it was not weight loss. But you can’t lose weight if you’re sitting there pumping, eating like candy corn and nuts by the bagfull at the same time, I will just say that. I was sharing with you a little bit before we started the recording, that I think this really started my journey into holistic health because our daughter had a dairy issue. And me realizing that she had a dairy issue because of what I was eating, made me aware of the impact that food has on our bodies, on our health– physical, mental, emotional. And it really kind of spring-boarded me into what I’m doing now as a health coach and helping other people realize that. So I had no idea before any of that, the impact food could have on health or that babies couldn’t tolerate dairy sometimes. I just didn’t know. So I think for me it was a really big awakening in that sense.

Allison (17:11):

Do you work with breastfeeding moms in your practice at all?

Melissa (17:16):

I have not. I work with moms, but I haven’t worked with any that are specifically breastfeeding.

Allison (17:21):

Yeah. Have you done any research on it? I mean, you’re a health coach specifically related to food and stuff. Is that correct? Do you have any insights for us on like how foods that you eat affect your body? We can even switch gears from breastfeeding a little bit. Because I think this is a real thing for moms. Moms are hungry when they breastfeed. Okay. And you mentioned what corn nuts and something?

Melissa (17:45):

Candy corn and nuts. Totally.

Allison (17:50):

Can you just tell us a little bit about how the foods you eat affect your body? Because everything the mom eats goes to the baby. So can you just start and give us some help? We need help– all the moms.

Melissa (18:03):

I needed help too. Because even with our second born, Allison, I remember he was so fussy one day and we took him to the chiropractor. Because with them being C-section we did the craniosacral therapy.

Allison (18:17):

Good for you. Yeah.

Melissa (18:17):

And I remember he was so fussy and she adjusted him and she did all these things. And she’s like, “Okay, what did you eat?” I’m like, “I had some Oreos.” And she was like, “How many Oreos did you eat?” I’m like, “Well, I ate the whole package.” And she was like, “Okay, why?” And I said, “Because I was stressed.” And she was like, “I understand that you’re stressed and you’re in a really hard season, but this is not what’s best for you or your baby. Because what you’re eating is not only impacting you, but it’s impacting him.” And so I think that was another awakening moment to the impact of food and food impacts everything. I mean, it impacts your mindset. It impacts your energy. It impacts your brain fog. For me, my mental health is definitely a huge connection between food and mood. It impacts your immune system. I mean, it impacts every area. And I think a lot of times we think it’s just weight and that’s a part of it, but there’s so much more that we don’t even know about.

Allison (19:13):

Oh, that’s so interesting. I’ve got a four month old and so healthy foods is like pretty low on the list of priorities in my life right now. I have three kids, I’m running a business. But I am hungry. And I’m not alone. All breastfeeding moms have their little snack bucket. So do you have any advice for sneaking in healthy eating in a way that’s doable for busy moms? Because it is something that I want to do. I want to eat healthy so my baby gets the most benefit and I feel good. I totally see what you’re saying. That it affects mental health as well. Do you have any tips for us moms that are just busy? I don’t have a lot of time to think about it, but I want to try something.

Melissa (20:03):

Yeah, absolutely. So a couple of things come up. And this would have been helpful for me in that season, to be honest with you. But if you can take a couple of hours during your week and do some meal prep, it’s a game changer. Cause I think we are tired. We are hungry. And what do we do? We grab. But if you have some precut vegetables, if you have some already washed fruits, you could even portion it into baggies so that you can grab the healthy options just as quick as you could grab the other options. That’s a game changer. I think smoothies are great because you can sneak some spinach in there. You can’t taste it.

Allison (20:40):

That’s my favorite way to eat spinach.

Melissa (20:42):

Yes, absolutely. Add some fruits, add some healthy fats. That can be really powerful. You can make smoothie packs and you can put the fruits, and the spinach, and your stuff in there that you want and then just pop it in the blender, add a liquid and you’re good to go. One thing that has been helpful for me is having a loose meal plan. And I say loose because I want to make sure that I have some items listed out for our meals, but then I also have what I need on hand so that we can have those things. Because there’s nothing worse than dinner time rolling around, everybody’s hungry, the kids are crying and you’re like, what are we going to have for dinner? And you don’t know because you didn’t get anything out. So if you can just have some things on like a loose meal plan and maybe throw some meat in the sink in the morning, that kind of helps too.

Allison (21:31):

Is there anything that you use to plan your meals that you’ve found helpful?

Melissa (21:35):

My calendar.

Allison (21:37):

Write it on your calendar. Cool.

Melissa (21:39):

Cause I have to look at like what we have going on. We’re in a different season of life right now. So our kids are doing some activities in the evening. But like if my son has football practice, for example, I know that we need to eat later and it just kind of sets the tone for what the meal looks like, based on how much time I have to prep it.

Allison (21:55):

Okay. So do you have your meals planned? Specific days you have meals written on there.

Melissa (22:00):

In an ideal world? Yes. All of the time? No, but yes.

Allison (22:04):

That’s your goal anyway?

Melissa (22:06):

Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I will add too for the breastfeeding mamas and I’m sure you guys know this, but hydration is so important. So make sure that you’re staying hydrated and getting your water in. Cause that can be helpful too with sugar cravings and some other things.

Allison (22:20):

So some moms, I get this complaint a lot that they don’t like water or that water’s fine. But to drink so much, all day is really hard for them. Any, but you don’t want juice or like Powerade all day. Is there anything that can help supplement your water if you need a little bit more?

Melissa (22:42):

Absolutely. You can infuse it, add some fresh or frozen fruit. Some people like to put cucumbers in there for a vegetable, but there are so many combinations you can make to infuse your water and give it a little more pizazz. Some people really find that that works for them. This is kind of an interesting thought, but some people do better with different temperatures. Some people do better if they have a straw. Like play with it and see what works for you. But I’m a big proponent of keeping like a full water with you at all times to kind of keep it top of mind. Obviously, if you’re a mom of a newborn that might not be as easy. But I don’t know, maybe strap it to you. Right?

Allison (23:18):

No, I recommend to a lot of moms actually that they have like a breastfeeding caddy, like a little basket and you need stuff anyway. Like if you’ve got your favorite nipple cream or like a breast pad or who knows what, but have one that can hold your water bottle and maybe we can find some links after this and put them down in the show notes for listeners. If you have like a water bottle that you can actually put fruit in that doesn’t get like fruit stuff everywhere. You know what I’m talking about? If you have any suggestions, we’ll throw them down there for you guys. That’s that’s a really good idea. I’m going to start sticking some cucumbers in my water at least.

Melissa (23:55):

And it’s like you’re at the spa every day. Is this a mommy spa?

Allison (24:03):

Hydration. Thank you for that reminder. Oh, I was going to tell you that for our meal planning, we use an app. Now moms have an app for everything, but it’s called Paprika. And we like to plan our meals a little bit looser. So I do plan four or five meals a week, but I just throw them on there. I don’t really know what days we’re doing them, but you can put it straight over into your grocery list on the app. And then you just take that, get all the stuff. And then that tends to work for me. I like you said, we’re in a little different stage and life is kind of everywhere. Stuff is less scheduled. And so I like four or five meals for the week. And when they happen is just when they happen.

Melissa (24:52):

And you have what you need, that’s the best part. Sure.

Allison (24:59):

I’ve got all the ingredients to make this. I need to do more meal prepping though. Do you have any resources for healthy eating meal prepping. Do you have a website or anything like that? Where we can get some info.

Melissa (25:07):

I have a guide. I have a link to a guide on how to batch cook.

Allison (25:13):

We need it in the show notes! I would love that.

Melissa (25:14):

It surprises me because I do this on the weekends. Like, I’ll get my overnight oats ready and I’ll wash the fruit and the vegetables. And it doesn’t take a lot of time, but it saves so much stress during the week.

Allison (25:28):

Yes I can see that, as a mom, having something in there. My overnight oats are sitting right in the morning when I’m starving to be like, yes, oats are really good for milk production as well. So yes, yes, yes.

Melissa (25:34):

And you set the coffee maker the night before. You can get those down to a drill.

Allison (25:47):

I don’t think all moms are quite that organized, but even if you can do like half of this. Pick one thing that you want to try and do better. Tackle one at a time. I know sometimes when I hear advice like this, I’m like, I am failing on like all of these levels. But my advice would be to pick one. Pick one of those suggestions that Melissa just gave you and try that. And then once you’ve mastered the water thing, move on to the next one. What do you think?

Melissa (26:17):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think to acknowledge the season that you’re in. Right? Cause we’re in various season as moms and sometimes we have the ability to do more and sometimes we have the ability to do less. So just acknowledge the season that you’re in and savor that and know that it won’t be that way forever. Because that was something I fell into as a new mom was, Oh my gosh, I’m always going to be on the schedule of having to feed and change the diaper and have the nap time. And I’d never going to have free time again. That’s not true. It’s not true. So just give yourself grace for where you’re at and it’s different for everybody

Allison (26:52):

While we’re talking about grace, I need you to walk me through this. So sometimes I’m just going to eat a whole pack of Oreos. Okay. Now I feel guilty about that. You know what I mean? Do you teach this kind of stuff in your coaching? And I know moms do this too. Like I’m a starving and I grabbed whatever was close, and now I feel kind of bad about it. What do you say to a mom like that?

Melissa (27:19):

Replace judgment with curiosity? Cause the fact that you are feeling guilty over eating the Oreos could lead to what I call a shame spiral. And that’s really a negative place to be. But if we can just negate that thought and ask why? Why did I eat the whole pack of Oreos? And were you physically hungry? Were you looking for something emotionally? Were you trying to stuff your feelings down? Like I used to do. You can figure out why you’re doing that and then see if that is in alignment with your desired outcome. And if it’s not, you can pivot. So replaced the judgment with curiosity. And the other thing I realized last night that I also like to do is ask, okay, this didn’t go or look how I wanted it to, but what can I do differently next time? So use it as a learning opportunity.

Allison (28:10):

I love that. Replace judgment with curiosity, dig into the why’s. Oh, that’s excellent advice. So can you tell me as we’re kind of finishing up here, what you do as a health coach? We started with some breastfeeding stuff and now we’re someplace different. But this is a super interesting topic. And I think a lot of moms are curious about this. So what’s the benefit of having a health coach? Like, can I get on and tell you all my food problems and you work me through it? What do you do? How do you help? I’m saying moms, but you help everybody.

Melissa (28:46):

That’s who I work with. So no, you’re totally right on. And I think that’s a good question. I think a lot of times we may have some thing we want to accomplish, whether it’s weight loss or not eating as much sugar, or maybe we are aware that we are stress eaters. I wasn’t aware of that until after the fact. But I really help women learn how to listen to their bodies. I learned how to help them acknowledge what foods work for them versus against them. Cause I think a lot of times we’re just not taught how to listen to our bodies, and how to honor hunger and fullness, and what foods work for us. So I really help women learn to understand their bodies better so they can accomplish their desired result– whether it’s weight loss or breaking free from sugar or finding freedom from emotional eating. But a lot of it is working around changing habits.

Allison (29:34):

Oh, that’s great. And to have that personal relationship, someone that can dive into your life and your habits, why you’re doing things, sounds like a really nice way to kind of change your habits. Like you said.

Melissa (29:49):

Absolutely. Because one size doesn’t fit all. And I think a lot of times we go into something health-related and we try something that we think works for the masses and it doesn’t work for us. And then we feel guilt or shame or like a failure. And the reality is it wasn’t maybe made for us, like we’re all different and unique. So we need to learn how to honor our uniqueness.

Allison (30:08):

Is there a good time postpartum and you’re not a health professional, but I just want your opinion on this. Do you feel like there’s a good time or maybe a bad time postpartum to dive into changing new habits and stuff like that?

Melissa (30:22):

I think it depends. I think habits are powerful. I think you can always change your habits at any time. I think it would depend on your bandwidth and what you have the capability for. Cause it goes back to those seasons as moms. Like for me, when I think about having that 27-month-old and that newborn– no way, Jose. So I think making sure you’re in a space where you do have the time and energy to focus on yourself and maybe making some changes and having the space to do that. So it depends on the situation.

Allison (30:55):

Perfect. Giving yourself a little grace to realize it’s not right now, it might be in a month or it might be in a year.

Melissa (31:03):

Absolutely. Yeah. And it’s never too late. Right? I think that’s another thing– it’s never too late.

Allison (31:09):

Perfect. I’ve loved this conversation today.

Melissa (31:13):

I have too! We should do it again.

Allison (31:16):

Thank you Melissa. I’m gonna put your links and stuff down there because everybody wants self-betterment and it’s extra important while you’re breastfeeding. Because taking care of yourself, and especially the foods you eat that are directly going to your baby, but also your mental health, and all of these things are going to make you a better mother and make your baby happier, family life better, your personal fulfillment. I mean, do you agree?

Melissa (31:44):

I totally agree. It’s so powerful. And I get really frustrated, Allison, when I hear people say self-care is selfish. Because I think we’ve kind of been taught that and it’s really not true because you can’t pour from an empty cup. When I was not caring for myself, and I was curled up in the couch on fetal position when my husband came home because I was so exhausted. Probably not serving anybody. And I wasn’t caring for myself. But I think when we learn that in order to be the best version of ourselves for those around us, we have to take care of ourselves. That kind of changes things.

Allison (32:17):

I love that reminder. And it would be so nice to do kind of a self-care thing for you that bettered your health, like paying more attention to what you’re eating, kind of digging into that. It doesn’t always have to be manicures and a day at the spa, which honestly is unrealistic with a tiny baby.

Melissa (32:34):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Allison (32:36):

If you’re looking for some self-care that’s going to go a long way, I think starting even just a little chat. Do you do consults, like just to kind of get an idea of what you do? Cool. This wasn’t meant to be like, Hey look at Melissa. But I think what you offer, to moms especially, is so valuable.

Melissa (32:58):

Thank you. I just know for me, when I was able to acknowledge that I was worth taking care of, it changed everything for my family. Because now I can teach my kids that too. And they don’t have to grow up with the mindset of, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. I’m not worth taking care of.” It’s a different, mindset and a different opportunity for them than I had. So I’m thankful.

Allison (33:22):

Yeah. Motherhood does that to you. If you can be the person you want to be, you’re affecting generations, really.

Melissa (33:31):

Amen! You might not feel like it at the time, but you really are.

Allison (33:37):

I mean it. I can see that. Is there anything as we end this interview that you would like to tell new moms? Either breastfeeding moms or in relation to their health. Is there any like little last nugget that you can share with listeners? Just to give them some uplifting advice or something that you’ve learned? Anything at all?

Melissa (33:57):

I just remember when my kids were little and you’re having one of those days. And you’re maybe out in public and someone will say, “Oh, enjoy it now because it won’t last forever.” Like I hated that comment because I felt guilty because I wasn’t always enjoying it. And I felt guilty because I felt like they were telling me how I should feel and I didn’t feel that way. And then I felt guilty because I wasn’t enjoying it. Just brought up all of these emotions. So my encouragement is to just be real and present with your feelings, acknowledge them. They’re not right or wrong. They’re not good or bad. Your feelings don’t make you a bad mom. Just be you. And know that it’s a journey. Find a community that can support you and walk you through it because it’s so much better when you have people that are on your side and doing it with you, but just know that bad moments or those feelings don’t make you a bad mom.

Allison (34:50):

Oh, that’s a perfect note to end on. Give yourself a little grace and you are not a bad mom because you have a bad feeling in the moment. Perfect. Melissa, thank you so much for talking with me today. I have loved this conversation. You’ll be able to find all kinds of stuff in the show notes. So don’t forget to check out down there. You can also see everything that New Little Life has to offer over on my website, which is newlittlelife.com. And we’ll see you on the next interview. Thanks Melissa.

Melissa (35:20):

Thank you, Allison. This was awesome. I love what you’re doing for moms. So keep up the good work. I needed you in my corner 12 years ago.

Allison (35:28):

You’re so sweet. Thank you so much.

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